## Friday 6 October 2017

### Spine Measurement

Well we all know about spine measurement... or do we?
I've made a quick and dirty spine tester, having noticed one rogue arrow, and using my digital verniers to measure spine is a right fiddle.

A while back on an archery forum on a post regarding how point weight effects spine I made a comment that infinite point weight would effectively give zero spine! e.g If you take a warbow to full draw, put the arrow point against a brick wall (which approximates to infinite weight) the arrow will just explode when you loose (e.g it will flex infinitely).
This was tongue in cheek, but was to illustrate a point and demonstrate a way of reasoning by extrapolating to extremes.
Well some bloke "corrected" me and said I meant infinite spine.
It became apparent that the target archers way of measuring spine to AMO standard is the opposite to the traditional wooden arrow way of measuring spine!
Now this is what is technically known as bloody stupid, however I'll let you decide the rights and wrongs.
The tradition way is to support the arrow at two points 28" apart. OR any other convenient distance, and this is important for shorter flight arrows. You hang a 2 lb weight on the middle of the arrow and measure the deflection in inches. You divide the distance between the two support points by the deflection in inches. (This automatically compensates for differing support distances... clever eh?)
E.G. If we have the supports 28" apart and we get 0.5" deflection that gives 28/0.5 which is 56
So the spine is 56, this number bears some rough relationship to the bow poundage for an average bow.
Note:- as deflection of the shaft increases the spine reduces, so 1" deflection would give 28/1 = 28 spine.
The spine figures are not linear, this shows on the uneven spacing of the scale. Also note, for convenience I've used 26" between the supports.

As far as I can tell the AMO method simply measures the deflection in thousandths of an inch with an 880gram (1.94 lbs) weight applied using a 29" shaft with supports 28" apart.
Has this annoyed you yet? They are randomly mixing metric and imperial and I have no idea what the 29" shaft length is about!
BUT the most worrying thing is they are just measuring deflection. Why does this matter?

If you plot  distance between supports divided by deflection (x) as a graph y=28/x you get a curve and as x gets bigger y gets smaller.
If you plot simple deflection y=x you get a straight line and as x gets bigger y gets bigger...
So the AMO spine runs the opposite way to the old method, bigger number is weaker rather than stiffer!

Now which is right?
Not for me to judge, but I'll just mention that  bending stiffness of a beam k=p/w Where k= bending stiffness.  p = force.  w = deflection

Oh, btw, my 2 lb weight is just a carefully calibrated bag of pebbles :-)

1. K=P/W doesn't allow for beam length. Am I missing something?

2. I dunno I'm just quoting:-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bending_stiffness

3. When you buy wood shafts they don't use either of these methods. Instead they suggest the poundage of bow-weight you should use them with. This is very crude and takes no account of arrow length or pile weight, or the fact that the range of spines they are supplying appears to be random.

1. I don't believe you are correct.
For wooden shafts, they will be quoting spine which must have been measured by someone (the shaft manufacturer) by some method, and it will be one of the two methods described.
Unless of course you are buying shafts from a disreputable source.
Even the bamboo shafts from China are spine tested and from what I've seen pretty accurately too.

4. Nice improvement. I use the digital vernier method. But I clamp the vernier vertically above the shaft. Use the depth gauge to get the datum and again to get the deflection when the weight is applied to get the deflection distance. I agree it's a bit fiddly but I only do a few arrows at a time. I might get round to making a copy of your 'new' version when the weather warms up.